‘116 one flat white?’ industrious worker bee must be fifteen tops, this kid’s going places, I think to myself, slurping a large OJ – I’m going nowhere fast. Sit on the same table as usual, big faux marble thing, whale white, strewn ‘lectronic goodies spread: laptop, dictaphone, mobile phone – caution when I go to the toilet. I take my small goods, close the lid of the laptop, stand, scan the room, seems safe – take off! Awkward little scarecrow stumble from tight thighs, turn corner, laptop out of sight, toilet ahead of me, hand outstretched to door from yards back – I see the PUSH sign – In, dark tiles, faint smell of shit, piss, snap the tap up quick splash hurry, wipe hands on shorts – PULL – round the corner relief – laptop still sitting safely exactly as I left it, slow my pace, even smile slightly to workers who ignore me (naturally).
Two teen fellas have boarded my whale, one baseball cap frontways thin, reading robotically from a message on his phone, friend fat backwards cap looks down, in natural ‘I’m genuinely listening’ pose. Some discrepancy about meeting a girl, Thin says: ‘better go get you some mints’ Fat fiddles with his hat nervously, looks around, where is she? I doubt she’ll board the whale, strange date she’ll have with me and Thin like two awful hangers on, I staring down, now CONSPIRATIONALLY as if they’ve sussed me I’m too scared to look, have to infer details – Fat not too nervous to eat, evidently (I’ve started to feel bad for naming him Fat, it was a split decision relative to his friend, who is thin, sorry Fat) – like me they are both enjoying the watery OJ now silent over muffins, coffee machine grinds on endless beans to smithereens, my industrious Bee never quits – Go! Get them beans boy! Thin makes an off-hand and inane comment about frappe, not his best dinner table talk and clearly (I relax) unsuspecting of me taking a second by second transcript, or he may have thought of something more profound to say. Bee begins to slow, a lapse in sales, his expression is unchanging whether juggling a hundred coffees or none (Thin: ‘I think I’m going to vom man, too much syrup in my syrup hole) Actually I lie! I just glance up to catch Bee with one forefinger running quick across his forehead to wipe sweat, a new-age Turing test, and my fellas leave suddenly, (Thin: ‘Let’s go’, Fat silent) and I ‘spose I’ll never get to see the girl, which is of course some cruel throwback from fate or god or whatever to my own teen years.